I was asked to shoot the portraits of my son's concert band. I tend to shoot more natural light and spontaneous photography so it was fun to get to do a little posed controlled lighting with such a great group.
Being portraits, and with highly reflective instruments (and lots of kids in glasses), getting the ambient light negated and then controlling the light with some soft boxes were my primary goals. I used a black backdrop because 1) they wanted to 'whack' the portraits at the shins and I wanted a fade down to that so that it would not be such a harsh cut and 2) to help set off (or "make pop") the instruments a bit. Since the kids were in black tuxedos and dresses I also used one of the umbrella soft boxed strobes to gradient the black backdrop to grey to create some separation.
The weekend before the shoot I did a little preparatory testing as I had just gotten some new soft boxes and wanted to make sure I was familiar with their lighting personality before I tried to capture 150 kids with instruments on a school day schedule.
The first is the actual shot of my son on portrait day - one of the 138 portraits I shot that day... and I have to say I was quite pleased with all of them.
Then the test shots from the weekend prior to the shoot: a few of my son with his newest saxophone and his grandfather's clarinet, my son in his layin' around weekend attire, and finally one of my favorite test shots - my wife playing her flute.
I think the best parts of the test shot days were hearing my wife and son playing all the instruments and having fun trying to teach one another the correct embouchure for each other's instruments... the joking, the laughing, the teaching, the learning, the sharing... good day all around.